A London court on Monday ruled that fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya
should be extradited from Britain to India. The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that had been going on for over a year.
Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that Mallya could be extradited to India to stand trial on the charges brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
India wants the 62-year-old businessman, who has been in Britain, to be brought to the country to face criminal action for default on loans taken by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. A clutch of banks want to recover about $1.4 billion they say Kingfisher owes them.
The judge referred the extradition case to the Secretary of State.
The judge's decision to send the case to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid could be appealed with the UK High Court's permission. Mallya is entitled to make an application for permission to appeal to the High Court within 14 days of the date of the Chief Magistrate's ruling.
"In case the individual concerned does not file an appeal, and Secretary of State agrees with the magistrate's decision, then the individual must be extradited from the UK within 28 days of the Home Secretary's extradition order. This will also apply if an appeal lodged by either party in the High Court is unsuccessful, but the 28 days will commence from the date when the appeal hearing was concluded," Pavani Reddy, a UK-based legal expert and Managing Partner of Zaiwalla & Co, told news agency PTI.
Earlier in the day, Mallya sought to disprove the narrative that he had "stolen" money and said his offer to repay the principal amount to the Indian banks was "not bogus".
Mallya made the remarks while talking to reporters outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court. The former Kingfisher Airlines boss was on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
"My settlement offer is made before the Karnataka High Court. It is not related to this extradition trial. Nobody disrespects a court of law by making a bogus offer. The assets have been attached by the ED so they cannot be bogus assets," he said.
The embattled liquor tycoon said that the value of his assets was more than enough to pay everybody and that was exactly what he was focusing on. "I want to disprove the narrative that I have stolen (money)," he said.
He had said his legal team would review the judgment and take proper steps thereafter.
Referring to the settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court, Mallya said he had requested the court if the settlement was granted then the employees of Kingfisher should be paid first.